Japan

Rental and Leasing Business

Toyota launched its car rental business ahead of other industry players in the mid-1960s, and in the mid-1970s put in place the foundations for its car rental and leasing sales systems. In the decades that followed, the business has achieved rapid growth, backed by booms in Japan's leisure market and by fleet reduction efforts by businesses. Since the latter half of the 1990s, when the rental and lease markets entered an era of intense competition, Toyota has led the markets in meeting emerging needs by introducing online reservation systems and by increasing demand through rate revisions (major price reductions). Toyota currently operates 64 Rental & Leasing companies in Japan, and as of the end of December 2011 had a rental vehicle inventory of 101,000 units (+5% YOY) and a lease vehicle registry of 494,000 units (+3% YOY).

Number of Rental and Leasing Outlets

レンタカー&リースカー保有台数の推移

Major Developments

Year
Month
Events
1966
July
Toyota enters the rental car business by establishing Toyota Rental Car Services Co., Ltd.
1968
March
Toyota Rent a Car Association launched
1970
November
Vehicle Operations Division establishes Vehicle Rental Section
1974
January
Toyota becomes franchiser
April
Toyota officially begins vehicle leasing operations, unifying names of all dealers as 'Toyota Rental & Leasing XX'
1975
November
Capital investment loan program (to support facilities expansion at dealers) commenced
1976
January
Toyota Five-Year Rental & Leasing Plan formulated
1977
October
Inventory/registry of rental and lease vehicles reaches 10,000 units
1978
October
Toyota Rental Card issued
1979
October
Combined inventory/registry (rental and lease) tops 30,000 units, achieving the five-year plan one year early
November
Overseas expansion commenced (Toyota Rent a Car established in Guam and Saipan)
1980
December
Activities to promote a uniform image of Toyota Rental & Leasing (logo, name boards, etc., revamped)
1982
July
Rental & Leasing Division established as independent organization
November
Combined inventory/registry tops 50,000 units
1983
January
0100 set as standard last four digits of telephone number
1984
October
Toyota Rent a Car credit card for consumers issued
1985
March
Leasing registry tops 50,000 units
1987
January
Toyota Rental & Leasing Medium-Term Plan (3 years) initiated
July
Combined inventory/registry tops 100,000 units
December
Non-operation charge (NOC) system introduced
1988
June
Introduction of TRL systems*1 at Rental & Leasing dealers commenced
November
Leasing registry tops 100,000 units
December
Standard operating guidelines for full-maintenance lease vehicles established
1989
January
Toyota Rental & Leasing Association merges with Toyota National Dealers' Advisory Council (TNDAC)
1990
April
Toyota Rental & Leasing Sendai, Hamamatsu, Kobe, and Shinokayama established
1991
May
Combined inventory/registry tops 200,000 units
July
Car rental rates revised
1992
April
Lease Sales Staff Step-Up Program introduced
1993
March
Introduction of TRL systems at all dealerships completed
April
Number of sales outlets tops 1,000
July
Leasing registry tops 200,000 units
1994
March
Step-Up Program receives Ministry of Labour certification
1995
January
Issuance of the Toyota Card and Toyota Rent a Car Business Member Card (TRBM) begins
April
First car navigation systems introduced
October
Car rental and leasing information posted on the Internet
1996
October
Online car rental reservations started
December
Combined inventory/registry tops 300,000 units
 
Introduction of 'heartful cars' for the disabled and elderly commenced
1997
July
Introduction of new ACT21 system*2 at Rental & Leasing dealers commenced
1998
April
Car rental rates revised
August
24-hour call center introduced for lease customers
August
Negotiation system for leasing profit management introduced
1999
January
Rent a Car Customer First Shop (CFS) program introduced
January
Combined purchasing system introduced for Rental & Leasing dealers to purchase select products
April
Business tie-up with Hertz Corporation
November
Online car rental reservation system enhanced
2000
January
Rental car campaign coordinated with release of new models commenced
January
Reservation Center and ACT systems integrated
April
Car rental rates revised
November
Introduction of ACT21 system at all dealerships completed
2001
April
Leasing registry tops 300,000 units
April
Standard interiors for rental cars introduced
August
Rental car monthly revenue exceeds 10 billion yen
October
TRBM program introduced
2002
January
Rent a Car CFS II program commenced
June
Toyota Car Management (TCM) Support, a fleet management support tool for business customers, introduced
2003
April
Short-term car rental inventory expansion program commenced
April
New maintenance scheme introduced
April
Combined inventory/registry tops 400,000 units
2004
October
Four Rental & Leasing companies in Shikoku region of Japan merge into two companies: Toyota Rent-A-Lease Higashi Shikoku Co., Ltd. and Toyota Rent-A-Lease Nishi Shikoku Co., Ltd.
October
Introduction of new NEO system*3 at Rental & Leasing dealers commenced
December
Rental car annual revenue reaches 100 billion yen
2005
October
Leasing registry tops 400,000 units
2006
April
Combined inventory/registry tops 500,000 units
June
Inventory of Welcab rental vehicles increased
July

Raku-Raku Yoyaku website

Online car rental reservation system that allows for reservations within as little as 1 hour in-advance, Raku-Raku Yoyaku, introduced
2007
September
Rental & Leasing companies start 'children's emergency hotline' volunteer initiative
October
ETC capability made standard on all rental cars for commercial use
November
Toyota Car Sharing Club launched
November
Customer-sharing agreement made with Rakuten Travel, Inc.
2008
February
Introduction of NEO system at all dealerships completed
March
Car navigation system made standard on rental cars for commercial use
May
Dokodemo Net, a system for providing follow-up services at all Rental & Leasing affiliates across Japan, started on trial basis
October
Prius rental rate class revised
2009
April
Order system for regional, large-volume business customers introduced
April

Dokodemo Net flier screen

Dokodemo Net launched nationwide
May
Car navigation systems with English language setting introduced
May
Prius rental rate class revised
2010
January
R-GNT NEXT*4 implementation period commenced
March
G-BOOK BIZ launched; Telematics service marketed to improve Rental & Leasing fleet driving habits
April
Water Coat coating used nationwide
April
Rental & Leasing uniforms changed
October
New company serving regional, large-volume business customers, Toyota Fleet Leasing Co., Ltd., established
2011
April
Rent a Car CFS III program commenced
July
Car navigation system supporting four languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean) launched
September
'My Usual Reservation' rental car service started
December
New rental car member system 'Raku Raku E-Member' started
*1
Features systemized operations at each outlet and consolidated management at the Head Office.
*2
Features systemized operations at each outlet
*3
Features integrated operations between Rental & Leasing outlets on a regional level and with other systems
*4
Three-Year Plan announced in autumn 2009; plan aimed to speed up ongoing networking initiatives, bring the car rental business back to profitability, and significantly increase the leasing business’s share of the market.

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